Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust newsletter - summer 2021

Chair's introduction

Thank goodness that we seem to be heading back to some kind of normality. Whilst you will see below that, thanks to Lucy, our trustees and volunteers, the Trust has not slept during lockdown, it is nevertheless lovely to emerge back into a world of live, rather than virtual, communication.

But, talking of virtual communication, hope you will enjoy the premier of our little film introducing the work of the Trust.

We would be able to do much more to save the many buildings still at risk if we had more volunteers. So, if you have any spare time available, consider helping us, whether social events or fundraising, technical, educational or promotional work, project management or administration; craft skills, or just physical labour. Do please get in touch - Lucy@derbyshirehistoricbuildingstrust.org.uk

I look forward to seeing you soon, if not over the summer, then in the Autumn at one of our events or projects.

Until then, yours ever,

Derek Latham.

Derek Latham, Chair of DHBT

wingfield station - Project update

July 2021

Since our last report we have gone out to tender to a number of conservation contractors for the urgent repair works at Wingfield Station (primarily the works to the roof and trackside elevations).

At the time of writing, the project Quantity Surveyor is carrying out the necessary checks on the tender returns in order for the DHBT to move forward, with the support of Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and appoint the contractor who can offer the project the best value for money.

We continue to liaise closely with Network Rail regarding the likely dates when the trackside scaffolding will need to be erected and possession of the line will, therefore, be required.

Tours of Wingfield Station

Visitors attending our tours of Wingfield Station during April, May, June and July.

Due to high demand, we have continued to run our popular tours of the Station in its current state during April, May, June and July. We've been overwhelmed with the amount of information and knowledge everyone has shared with us and we are grateful to all those who have supported us in our endeavours to date.

One visitor, Patricia, shared this drawing of a Christmas scene at Wingfield Station in 1890 by Brian Newton. As a child Patricia spent a lot of time at the station - train-spotting and playing games on the 'wooden bridge'. Occasionally her father would take her on the train from Wingfield to Derby to watch football. Patricia bought this image as a Christmas card in 1993 from her neighbour at the time.

There are still tickets left for both the 11am and 1pm tours of Wingfield Station on the 8th August. Book your free place here. There are also a handful of spaces still available on the 22nd August at the same times too.

Derbyshire Life Magazine Feature

Our feature in the July edition of Derbyshire Life Magazine, 2021.

It was fantastic to see our project featured in the current 90th anniversary edition of Derbyshire Life Magazine. Many thanks to the author, Janine, for exploring the history and future of the Station and coming along to one of our tours to fully understand the heritage and significance of the site. There is still time to buy your own copy of the magazine.

New Acquisition

One of the sheets from the portfolio of plans and sections of the 'intended railway to be called the North Midland Railway', 1835.

We have recently managed to acquire one of the original 1835 portfolio of bound prints of the plans for the route - with options - for the North Midland Railway co, as submitted to Parliament for assent. The plans are exquisite in detail at 80 chains to the mile. We will be producing some high quality prints of these, so do get in touch if you'd be interested in purchasing some. More details to follow soon.

Volunteer Clean Up!

Volunteers cleaning out the interior of Wingfield Station, June 2021

At the end of June a small but very dedicated group of volunteers worked really hard to clear the Station ahead of handing the site over to contractors later this year. The difference following their efforts really was quite remarkable! Many thanks to Jamie, Mick, Richard and Ken for their hard graft!

Interpreting the Heritage of Wingfield Station

Some of the interpretation concept visuals prepared by consultants, G+Studio.

G+ Studio and DBA Consulting have worked with the project team to create an interpretation framework and to identify key themes and storylines. This has involved using a number of key resources including the Conservation Plan, archival material, information and input from South Wingfield Local History Group, memories and various publications. Together these have established the following:

  • The primary 'voice' with the interpretation will be that of an 'informed friend' - introducing the station to people who are new to the building and curious to find out more.
  • A light touch and 'explorable' approach will be taken across the site, with interpretation incorporated into features of the site.
  • Robust set dressing items (e.g. milk churns) will provide opportunities to tell stories at appropriate points around the site.
  • Interpretive intervention to the main building will be minimal; allowing the building to stay true to its origins. Modern interventions will, instead, be located in the surrounding yard and adjacent the Parcel Shed - thus providing context without taking away from the impact of the building itself.
  • A 'layered' approach will be used throughout - allowing people to engage according to their level of interest, available time and level of existing knowledge.
  • A digital trail will provide a layer of additional exploration.
  • To augment the interpretive media, knowledgeable guides would talk about the history of the site.

summer garden party at 15 market place, wirksworth, 17th july 2021

17th July 2021.

Sometimes we let our hair down and simply have fun!

This is certainly what happened on the afternoon of the 17th July, at a garden party held in a delightful Wirksworth garden by kind permission of Steve Ford and Sue Swain, owners of the house in the Old Market Place built by Duchy of Lancaster Steward John Leacroft in 1750. He also bought the adjacent 1631 Hopkinson's House, so he could make the garden of that property his own.

We were entertained by DHBT trustee Oliver Gerrish; a most accomplished counter tenor and we then heard hair-raising, but entertaining, tales of bad behaviour by William Hopkinson! Outstanding food was produced by Rusty Ahearne and glasses of Pimms were enjoyed by many.

Hopkinson's House was restored by the DHBT between 1981-5 and is now the HQ for the Trust.

We were able to have on display at the party a recently conserved fragment of decorative plaster. The owners of 15 Market Place - who also own the part of Hopkinson's House that is currently used as a garage - kindly offered the Trust a gift of this plasterwork.

Decorative plaster fragment before conservation work.

It was originally found by a previous owner in the garage, which is, in fact, the former 'Hall' chamber of the house built in 1631 by William Hopkinson.

The plasterwork following conservation - on display at the garden party.

The seven mullioned window of the once most prestigious chamber of the house is shown on the far left of DHBT Vice Chair, Barry Joyce's, drawing of how the facade would have looked when first built.

Hopkinson's House by DHBT Vice Chair, Barry Joyce.

A huge thank you to all our volunteers and trustees - new and old - without whom we would not be able to host these sorts of events. If you'd like to help at future functions - or perhaps have an idea for hosting a talk or visit in conjunction with DHBT please get in touch.

DHBT Garden Party, 17th July 2021.

we've made a film!

Over the last few weeks, we've been busy making some short films about our work as a charity with local film-maker, Gavin Repton. We'll be sharing these with you soon.

Here is our introductory film to give you a flavour of the work we do and how we go about our mission to safeguard the historic buildings of Derbyshire.

DHBT architecture awards 2021

DHBT Architecture Awards, 2019, at Elvaston Castle.

Following the postponement of the 2020 Architecture Awards, we are pleased to be launching applications for 2021.

Application forms can be accessed via our website - please spread the word and help us celebrate the best of architecture in the county.

Previous award winners.

DHBT Events 2021

Looking out to 'the iron giant' - Bennerley Viaduct visit, June 2020.

Despite everything, we've managed to run a number of enjoyable tours this year.

Sudbury, April 2021

Visit to Sudbury Village and Sudbury Gasworks, April 2021.

In April the weather was on our side for a visit to Sudbury; a delightful former estate village to nearby Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood. Volunteers from the Local History Group and Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust took four small groups around different areas of interest (All Saints Church, the front apron of Sudbury Hall, the main village street and finally to see the old Victorian gasworks).

Sudbury Gasworks is a Grade II 'at risk' building of 1874 attributed to country house architect, George Devey. The original purpose of the gasworks was to manufacture gas from coal. Representatives from Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust showed attendees around the site and talked to them about the funding they have received to restore and develop the building for community use.

Bonsall Village, May 2021

Bonsall village, May 2021.

DHBT Trustee, Liz Stoppard, led a fascinating exploration of Bonsall village in May. The route took in the medieval church, a spectacular private garden, the village cross, a framework knitter's workshop, the Manor House and ended high up on a domed meadow, giving wonderful views across the village rooftops.

Bennerley Viaduct, June 2021

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct impressed us all with a visit to the 'Iron Giant'. The viaduct is a spectacular engineering structure built to carry rail traffic across the Erewash Valley. Completed in 1877 it links Awsworth in Nottinghamshire with Ilkeston in Derbyshire.

It is one of only two surviving wrought-iron viaducts in England and is listed grade II*

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct are dedicated to giving this “Iron Giant” a new lease of life after 50 years of closure. They are working in partnership with the owners to restore the viaduct and bring it back into use as a walking and cycling trail.

One of our guides, Kieran Lee, explained how the viaduct is special to so many different groups and people. We got to appreciate the richness of the fauna and wildlife around the viaduct, as well as gaining an insight into the ingenuity of the Victorian engineers.

Views from Bennerley Viaduct, June 2021.

Matthew Parris, who attended the DHBT visit to Bennerley Viaduct wrote about his experience in The Times.

The last time the Viaduct got a mention in the paper was in 1975.

Georgian Ashbourne, July 2021

Following on from our virtual tour in March, DHBT Trustee, Mark Somerfield, led a fascinating walking tour of Ashbourne on the hottest day of the year so far (18th July).

Ashbourne is arguably the best Georgian town in the county. The architectural historian, Sir Nikolous Pevsner, once declared that “Church Street is one of the finest streets in Derbyshire. It has a large variety of excellent houses and whole stretches without anything that could jar.”

But behind those elegant brick and rendered Georgian facades are often much older structures; some medieval!

The walking tour explored a range of Georgian houses in the town, as well as the classic medieval setting in which they exist. It also placed the houses at the heart of 18th Century Ashbourne and its unique social and cultural life! Well done to all those that persevered with the heat. We hope to repeat this tour soon, but in the meantime, please do watch the virtual tour if you've not done so already.

available to book now

There are now priority tickets available for DHBT supporters for our August and September visits - be quick as places are limited. All tickets must be book via Eventbrite.

15th August at 2pm, Barrow on Trent

The recently refurbished Church of St Wilfrid's in Barrow upon Trent. The Grade I Church has received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, amongst others.

The Parish of Barrow used to be a farming community with approximately 19 farms and smallholdings. In the early and mid-20th Century, several of the larger estates were sold, but old Barrow is still there showing many signs of influences through the ages. Members of the Friends of St Wilfrid's Church will be leading this visit.

Walking through Barrow today mirrors the progress through time of many rural villages. There is the Grade 1 listed Anglo-Saxon Church, developed by the Knights Hospitallers from 1165 (one of only two still left as it was in 1540) with its effigy (possibly the oldest effigy of a priest in alabaster in the country). There is also ‘The Methodist Chapel’ built in 1837 which still shows the mark of the bullet, shot by a religious opponent.

There’s the old farm building, now a home, but still showing a brick infill, suggesting former storage entrances; the cottages built with their gable-ends to the road, providing passages to the rear of narrow smallholdings, and the strange brick outline suggesting an old Cruck frame. Then we see the two-room Village School built in Jacobean style for the village children and ‘The ‘Row’; cottages built in 1789 immediately after ‘The Enclosures’ as workers cottages, and still owned by the Parish. Proudly standing opposite is the War Memorial, given in 1916 by Mr. F C Arkwright to our village that sent more volunteers to the Great War in proportion to its population than anywhere else.

Barrow has several other secrets, all hidden in this very small South Derbyshire village, ready to welcome you.

19th September at 2pm, Milford

Four years after Jedediah Strutt began his campaign of cotton mill building in Belper he extended his activities along the Derwent Valley to Milford where, in 1781, he began building a complex of cotton mills and bleach works. Sadly most of these were demolished in the 1960s but what survives, pretty much intact, are the cottages he built for his workers and the chapels, school and other community buildings of this little mill town.

The walk will take in the prime industrial sites in Milford, including the few structural remains of the mill buildings and the pre-Strutt era mill. You will be invited to look at some of the remains of inventive genius, William Strutt's designs for fire-proofing the mill and his improvements in the design of the weirs that provide power to the mills, and still provide power to the village today.

The tour will include some of the 18th and early 19th century housing, from Jedediah Strutt's own house to the housing built for the workers and maintained by the Strutt family for nearly 200 years. Along the way you will hear about the lives of the mill workers and some of the incidents that occurred in the village, from the savage murder of a small child to the Milford's night watchman employed by the Strutts to keep order at night.

There are tantalising remains of other local industries to be seen, such as framework knitting, nailmaking, quarrying and farming, as well as many small remnants of the paternalistic care that the Strutts took of their employees, such as the pavements, allotments, gas lighting and water pumps.

Time permitting, the tour will also include the elegant Stephenson railway tunnel entrance and bridge and you can hear about the problems of putting a railway through the narrowest part of the Derwent Valley.

eccles house farm

We recently made a trip to Eccles House Farm in the Hope Valley - a site that the DHBT have recently taken on the ownership and management of.

Last autumn two of the county's oldest heritage Trusts - DHBT (est. 1974) and the Peak Park Trust (est. 1987) merged.

The Peak Park Trust (PPT) - set up and funded by Sir Hugh and Lady Sykes - helped to restore ancient footways over the moorlands to reduce their erosion, whilst improving the experience for walkers. It investigated the nature of deprivation in the Park, which led to the provision of the first computer-based office development in the Hope Valley. This was to be situated in a 'telecottage' so that local people could be trained in new business IT skills.

In 1991 PPT persuaded Blue Circle Industries to grant them a long lease on Eccles House Farm - a then derelict farm complex dating back to 1814 - which the PPT then restored and converted to business units. Work was completed by 1992 and since that time Eccles House Farm has been home to many local business start-ups and developing companies.

In 2019 the PPT Trustees felt that the time had come to step back from managing the Trust and approached the DHBT to discuss a possible merger. Given that the two organisations shared similar objectives, the respective trustees readily agreed to the proposal.

The DHBT are now continuing the work of the PPT in rescuing and reusing historic buildings 'at risk' for the benefit of people in the Peak Park.

codnor castle news

The ownership of Codnor Castle and the Castle Farmhouse has changed. The Codnor Castle Heritage Trust (CCHT) have issued a statement t say that they are no longer operational on the site and are no longer the custodians. They have pledged to let the public know what the Trust's future role may be in due course. CCHT are very keen to continue to promote its rich history and heritage in the future and they are passionate about this being imperative to such a significant heritage site.

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